Library Funding

Summary of Positions

  • ALA works to preserve and increase all current levels of federal funding for libraries across the country.
  • ALA works to preserve and enhance the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), which distributes funds through state grants and the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) per a national formula with a state match.
  • ALA works to preserve and enhance the Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) grant program from the U.S. Department of Education, which supports school libraries and non-profit literacy organizations working to improve reading skills at the most critical early years of a child's development.
  • ALA communicates to Congress about the importance of funding federal libraries, like the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian Libraries, the National Agricultural Library, and the National Library of Medicine.

The Issue

The majority of federal library funds are distributed through the Institute of Museum and Library Services to each state through the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). The Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) grant program from the U.S. Department of Education supports school libraries working to foster reading skills at the most critical early years of a child's development. LSTA and IAL provide critical assistance, giving libraries across the country the financial support they need to serve their communities.

With $189.3 million in LSTA funds, more than 120,000 public, academic, government, and special libraries are able to advance entrepreneurship, employment, and education in communities across the country. LSTA prepares students for today’s job market by providing coding and STEM activities. LSTA funds business development assistance programs for entrepreneurs, provided by skilled business and technology outreach librarians.

To cut funding for libraries means to undercut opportunities provided to all Americans. ALA advocates energetically to urge Congress to continue to make full funding for our nation’s libraries a priority.

Related

  • Coalition letter to the Senate and House Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittees regarding funding for the Community Development Block Grant program in FY 2020 (April 25, 2019)
  • Testimony on funding for the Library of Congress and Government Publishing Office before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the Legislative Branch (May 3, 2019)
  • Testimony before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on the Legislative Branch on Funding for the Library of Congress and Government Publishing Office (April 2, 2019)
  • Coalition Letter to the Senate Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Subcommittee re: FY19 funding for the Census Bureau (June 4, 2018)
  • Testimony before the House Appropriations Subcommittees on the Legislative Branch re: funding for the Library of Congress and GPO (April 17, 2018)
  • Testimony before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittees on the Legislative Branch re: funding for the Library of Congress and GPO (April 16, 2018)
  • Letter from four library organizations to the House and Senate Subcommittees on Legislative Branch Appropriations re: grantmaking study to Federal Depository Libraries (April 6, 2018)
  • Letter to Senate and House Appropriations Committees about FY18 Library Funding (February 22, 2018)
  • Correspondence Archive

Staff Contact Information

Kevin Maher
Deputy Director, Advocacy and Public Policy
kmaher@alawash.org

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